Ablepharus kitaibelii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ablepharus kitaibelii
Species Authority: Bibron & Bory, 1833
Common Name(s):
English European Copper Skink, Snake-eyed Skink
French Ablephare De Kitaibel
Taxonomic Notes: Schmidtler (1997) raised the subspecies budaki, chernovi, and rueppellii to full species status, thus restricting Ablepharus kitaibelii to southeastern Europe and west and central Turkey. However, the taxonomy of this species is currently under review (P. Lymberakis pers. comm.). Ljubisvljevic et al. (2002) examined geographic variation in parts of the Balkan peninsula. Poulakakis et al. (2005) showed that A. kitaibelii is not monophyletic, and that the population on the Kastelorizo island group (Greece, off the Lycian coast of southwestern Turkey) is particularly distinct and deserves specific status. The remaining populations of A. kitaibelii consist of two clades, one comprising the populations inhabiting continental Greece and the west Aegean (Cyclades and Kithira) and Ionian (Leukada) islands, and the other comprising populations that inhabit the East Aegean islands (including “Crete”) and Turkey.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-14
Assessor(s): Wolfgang Böhme, Petros Lymberakis, Rastko Ajtic, Varol Tok, Ismail H. Ugurtas, Murat Sevinç, Pierre-André Crochet, Idriz Haxhiu, Bogoljub Sterijovski, László Krecsák, Jelka Crnobrnja Isailovic, Yakup Kaska, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avci, Dušan Jelić
Reviewer(s): Cox, N. and Temple, H.J. (Global Reptile Assessment)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
2006 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges from southern Slovakia and Hungary, through most of Serbia, the most eastern parts of continental Croatia (and newly discovered on Papuk Mountain in the central part of Croatia [Dušan Jelić, in press]), southern Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania (lowland areas), Greece (including many Ionian and Aegean islands) and Turkey (western and central ). There is a single record from eastern Bosnia Herzegovina. Populations of the species in Hungary and southern Slovakia are very fragmented. Records from Cyprus refer to Ablepharus budaki. It is found up to 2,000m asl (in Turkey).
Albania; Bulgaria; Croatia; Greece; Hungary; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Romania; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Turkey
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is generally a common species, but it is notably rarer at the edges of its range.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is found in dry areas including south facing slopes, meadows, scrubland and clearings in woodland (both deciduous and pine). It is generally found close to ground cover such as leaf-litter, dead wood, stones, bushes and other vegetation. The female lays a clutch of two to four eggs.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by forest fires in Turkey. Overall, there appear to be no major threats to this species. In parts of its European range the species is threatened by afforestation, deforestation and conversion of suitable habitat to agricultural, forestry or industrial use (Gasc 1997; CoE, 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention, and on Annex IV of the European Union Habitats Directive. It occurs in a number of protected areas. Further taxonomic studies are needed for a number of populations of this species.

Bibliography [top]

Arnold, E.N. 2003. Reptiles and amphibians of Europe. Princeton University Press., Princeton and Oxford.

Baran, I. and Atatür, M.K. 1998. Turkish herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles). Republic of Turkey Ministry of Environment, Ankara.

Böhme, W. and Wiedl, H. 1994. Status and zoogeography of the herpetofauna of Cyprus, with taxonomic and natural history notes on selected species (genera Rana, Coluber, Natrix, Vipera). Zoology in the Middle East 10: 31-52.

Buttle, D. 1994. An addition to the article 'notes on the herpetofauna of some of the Cyclades Islands, Greece. British Herpetological Society Bulletin: 11.

Council of Europe. 2003. Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Group of experts on the conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles. Mälmo (Sweden), 26-27 September 2003. Report T-PVS (2003) 18.

Disi, A.M. and Böhme, W. 1996. Zoogeography of the amphibians and reptiles of Syria, with additional new records. Herpetozoa 9(1/2): 63-70.

Dolev, A. and Perevelotsky, A. (eds). 2002. Red Book of Threatened Species in Israel – Vertebrates. Nature and Parks Authority and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Jerusalem.

Foufopoulos, J. 1997. The reptile fauna of the Northern Dodecanese (Aegean Islands, Greece). Herpetozoa: 3-12.

Gasc, J.-P., Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher, K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martínez-Rica, J.P., Maurin, H., Oliveira, M.E., Sofianidou, T.S., Veith, M. and Zuiderwijk, A. 1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica and Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Göçmen, B., Kumlutas, Y. and Tosunoglu, M. 1996. A new subspecies, Ablepharus kitaibelii (Bibron & Borry, 1833) budaki n. ssp. (Sauria: Scincidae) from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turk. J. Zool.: 397-405.

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.1). Available at: (Accessed: 22 June 2009).

Janev-Hutinec, B., Kletečki, E., Lazar, B., Podnar Lešić, M., Skejić, J., Tadić, Z. and Tvrtković, N. 2006. Crvena knjiga vodozemaca i gmazova Hrvatske. Ministarstvo kulture, DZZP.

Kasparek, M. 1990. Zur Herpetofauna des Beckens von Köycegiz, Türkei (Dalyan-Region). Salamandra: 155-164.

Ljubisvljevic, K., Dzukic, G. and Kalezic, M.L. 2002. Morphological differentiation of the snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibellii (Bibron and Bory, 1933), in the north-western part of the species' range: systematic implications (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae). Herpetozoa: 107-121.

Lymberakis, P. and Kalionzopoulou, A. 2003. Additions to the herpetofauna of Syria. Zoology in the Middle East 29: 33-39.

Martens, H. 1997. A review of "Zoogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Syria, with additional new records" (Herpetozoa 9 (1/2), 1996). Herpetozoa 10(3/4): 99-106.

Poulakakis, N., Lymberakis, P., Tsigenopoulos, C.S., Magoulas, A. and Mylonas, M. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary history of snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii (Sauria: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 245-256.

Schmidtler, J.F. 1997. Die Ablepharus kitaibelii - Gruppe in Südanatolien und benachbarten Gebieten (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae). Herpetozoa 10(1/2): 35-62.

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Sindaco, R., Venchi, A., Carpaneto, G.M. and Bologna, M.A. 2000. The reptiles of Anatolia: a checklist and zoogeographical analysis. Biogeographia 21: 441-554.

Sivan, N. and Werner, Y.L. 1992. Survey of the reptiles of the Golan Plateau and Mt. Hermon, Israel. Israel Journal of Zoology 37: 193-211.

Tomović Lj., Ljubisavljević, K., Ajtić, R., Aleksić, I. and Crnobrnja-Isailović, J. 2001. New records of the snake-eyed skink Ablepharus kitaibelii in Serbia. Biota: 115-117.

Tóth, T. 2001. Herpetologische Beobachtungen auf der Insel Syphnos (Kykladen, Griechenland). Elaphe: 70-73.

Uğurtaş, I.H., Yildirimhan, H.S. and Öz, M. 2000. Herpetofauna of the eastern region of the Amanos Mountains (Nur). Turk. J. Zool. 24: 257-261.

Welch, K.R.G. 1983. Herpetology of Europe and Southwest Asia. A Checklist and Bibliography of the Orders Amphisbaenia, Sauria and Serpentes. Robert E. Krieger., Malabar, Florida.

Werner, Y.L. 1988. Herpetofaunal survey of Israel (1950-1985), with comments on Sinai and Jordan and on zoogeographical heterogeneity. In: Yom-Tov,Y. and Tchernov, E. (eds), The zoogeography of Israel., Dr. W. Junk Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

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Citation: Wolfgang Böhme, Petros Lymberakis, Rastko Ajtic, Varol Tok, Ismail H. Ugurtas, Murat Sevinç, Pierre-André Crochet, Idriz Haxhiu, Bogoljub Sterijovski, László Krecsák, Jelka Crnobrnja Isailovic, Yakup Kaska, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avci, Dušan Jelić 2009. Ablepharus kitaibelii. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 September 2015.
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